Monday, May 12, 2008

May, Simon. "Review of Simon Critchley's THE BOOK OF DEAD PHILOSOPHERS." NEW HUMANIST 123.3 (2008).

Critchley, Simon. The Book of Dead Philosophers. London: Granta, 2008. Death awaits us all and yet few philosophers have devoted more than a fraction of their work to it - even those philosophers like Montaigne who hold, with the ancients, that “to philosophise is to learn how to die”. Of these few, almost none in the last hundred years is English-speaking, in part because until very recently Anglo-Saxon philosophers have striven, almost without exception, for systematic, dispassionate and, if possible, timeless descriptions of our ordinary practices – a bent that has left little room for much of life, let alone for death. If an English-speaking philosopher is going to write a book on the subject he had therefore better be very familiar with the so-called 'Continental' tradition of philosophy – with, for example, thinkers like Heidegger for whom awareness of death as a final horizon for all our experiences and practices is essential to an authentic living of life. Simon Critchley is an ideal author for a book of this sort as he is a distinguished philosopher who is deeply interested in such Continental thinkers as Levinas, Blanchot, Derrida and of course Heidegger. . . . Read the rest here:

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